Food Choices

Last Thursday week I was in London to chair a conference at Local Government House called ‘Food for thought: joint approaches to safe food and healthy eating – organised by the Local Government Association’s Community Wellbeing team of which I am a Board member. During the course of the day, 120 delegates ranging of Environmental Food Safety officers to Directors and senior officers in Public Health and handful of Councillors debated the subject.
I kicked the day off by taking about the importance of grasping the new agenda as public health has returned to local government. I pondered that with the move, local government was now at the heart of how we go about the oversight of food, whilst Westminster sets the policy framework local government enforces that what the producers and retailers says is being purchased or served is correct. That the premises from which it is being provided is up to standards and how through the great marking system now in place across England residents can have confidence in the premise they are buying form or eating at. And with public health now in local government we have the final piece of the jigsaw and responsibility to encourage businesses and consumers to make better choices on food that effects their long term health and ultimately the cost to the national purse.
For me a day is success if I learn things and I really did improvement my knowledge on this important subject, plus I hope my experience in Chairing such events helped the day fizz along, aided by the excellent Paul Ogden of the LGA @ogden140. The various presentations can be viewed at    and are well worth a look.
Amongst many excellent presentations and initiatives being presented the thoughts of Professor Tim Lang @ProfTimLang, Professor of Food Policy – City University London, were really interesting about the direction of travel we are on and what we have to do to change our food habits and perceptions. He spoke about that on his journey home, part of which he cycles through London, brave man, as he approaches Clapham Junction, he has counted that, on the way to the train there are 37 food options to snack, graze or take home.

To many of us the choice and quality on offer is a revelation and progress compared to many years ago when the choice might have been a single curled at the edges ham sandwich and a stewed cup of coffee, but he saw these choices as a potential threat to our collective health as we collectively have too much opportunity to eat too much, particularly sugar and salt. Another one of his comments which really struck home was that today, by the time a child is 16 they have on average will have seen 130,000 adverts for fast food and sugary drinks etc., – quite staggering, and when you think about it that is probably set against but a handful of lessons and information about health eating.
I closed the conference by thanking the speakers and delegates for a really interesting day and the importance of the role of local government to shape our future eating habits and perhaps most importantly to try to counter the advertising bombarding younger people and help then and indeed the rest of us make more informed choices.


About askcolinnoble
I'm a Conservative politician-lite, I dabble a bit in Party Politics with my main focus of working hard and being a strong voice for my community making sure local government delivers quality services and fellow residents get value for money for their hard earned money they pay in Council tax | Where this Gravatar appears and I am expressing my views or liking something I do so in a personal capacity and does not necessarily reflect the views or policies of Suffolk County Council, Forest Heath District Council, the Conservative Party or come to think of it anyone else | But having said the above at an election time and to stay legal anything I write is promoted by Lance Stanbury on behalf of Colin Noble, both at West Suffolk Conservative Association, Unit 8, Swan Lane Business Park, Exning, Newmarket, Suffolk CB8 7FN

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